Google is helping Australians to prove their vaccination status in the latest sign of the emergence of mobile ID technology.
The company has enabled Android users in the country to save a virtual version of their official vaccination certificate to the Google Pay mobile wallet. The virtual vaccination card, emblazoned with official Australian Government insignia up top, displays information including the user’s name and vaccination dates.
Users can access their digital vaccination certificates through the country’s MyGov digital service, or through Services Australia’s Express Plus Medicare app. From there, it’s simply a matter of selecting the “Save to Phone” option.
Google’s effort – a collaboration with Services Australia – helps to illustrate the rising prominence of mobile ID technology, especially in the wake of Apple’s announcement in June that it would enable American iPhone users to store virtual versions of their driver’s licenses. In Australia, government authorities were already developing the country’s myGovID digital identity platform last year, with the aim of enabling citizens to use selfie-based authentication to access government e-services.
While Google’s latest effort is only concerned with mobile vaccination credentials, and not some broader form of digital ID, it is part of the larger shift from physical credentials to mobile credentials. And here, too, biometric authentication is an important component: any time users want to access their virtual vaccination certificates, they will have to authenticate using a password, PIN, or biometric scan.
On that note, Google is further securing the user data associated with their vaccination records by storing it only on the user’s device, and not in a separate server, helping to ensure that it won’t be subject to a data breach.
Users can access their virtual vaccination card at any time, even if they are not connected to wifi or a cellular network.